BACKGROUND: Idaho Power Company, Boise, Idaho, is a stock-owned company, providing electricity to more than 370,000 customers in southern Idaho and one corner of Oregon. The utility has more than 18 local offices serving residential customers as well as agricultural and business users. Idaho Power is also a leader in solar power. It is recognized as the authority among utilities for solar.

PLATFORMS: Servers: IBM-compatible enterprise servers ­ OS/390, MVS/XA, MVS/ESA, VSE/SP/ESA and VM/XA/ESA. Supports VSAM databases. Optional support for CA-IDMS/DB, IMS or DB2. Clients: 3270 terminals and Microsoft Windows-based PCs via Sterling Software's VISION:Journey.

PROBLEM SOLVED: For the past 10 years, the internal auditing process has relied on reports generated from IBM enterprise server databases to verify customer information and find exceptions that need to be corrected. The internal auditor received about a six requests a month from co-workers. They would request a specific report but needed a modification to add another field or sort the data a different way. With VISION:Results, a non-programmer who has been through the Sterling Software product training can simply go into a query and do minor modifications to customize reports. Making modifications is very easy and VISION:Results offers many ways of sorting data.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: VISION:Results can access, retrieve, update and report on data from virtually any file and database available on the enterprise server. Once that data is retrieved, it can be used to populate a data warehouse or it can be downloaded to a PC or a LAN server. VISION:Results also provides optional interfaces to gain access to databases such as IBM's DB2, SQL/DS, IMS/DB and DL/I, and Computer Associates' CA-IDMS/DB. Users can create customized reports quickly using existing COBOL field and DB2 column definitions. Also, automatic report generation lays out the entire report for the users.

STRENGTHS: The business user will appreciate the way VISION:Results makes it possible to write queries in easy-to-understand language. It is also easy to make modifications to queries when necessary as well as modify and customize reports. VISION:Results is in a language that is easy for business users to understand. They can write queries in English so they know what the application is doing.

WEAKNESSES: It is difficult for the business user to understand the interface between VISION:Results and the JCL on the mainframe.

SELECTION CRITERIA: VISION:Results was already in place 10 years ago when this reviewer came into the Audit Department at Idaho Power.

DELIVERABLES: The internal auditor at Idaho Power has created 40 reports using VISION:Results, which accesses the customer database to provide the information needed to complete an audit. For example, one of the reports created with VISION:Results checks to see that SIC codes assigned to commercial customers for business forecasting are accurate. The program, written with VISION:Results, goes through and extracts SIC codes. The auditor verifies that they are there and then reviews them to make sure the code matches the actual business the customer is in. The auditor also makes sure residential customers are not given a SIC code. VISION:Results produces a report that shows any residences with SIC codes, which then can be corrected.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Users at Idaho Power appreciate the expert advice and responsiveness of the Sterling Software support staff. They have always been able to quickly answer whatever the question might be. They care for the customers, and they are there at a minute's notice.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is adequate for the user's needs.


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